Medicare OEP 2020: How to Make Changes to Your Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare OEP 2020: How to Make Changes to Your Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP) 2020 will begin on January 1st. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (maybe you signed up for a new plan during AEP 2020?) and wish to adjust your coverage, you may qualify to make a one-time change to your existing policy. 

Medicare OEP 2020. What is it?

OEP is the Medicare election period that runs from January 1st to March 31st each year. It allows Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans to:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • Disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, with or without a Part D drug plan

Note: According to, the following are changes that you cannot make during OEP. 

You will not be able to:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan if you’re in Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another if you’re in Original Medicare. 

Also, if you’re within the first three months of your Initial Enrollment Period, you have the option to 1) change to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage) or 2) go back to Original Medicare (again, with or without a drug plan).

Let’s look at an example.

During AEP, Sylvia enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan. The plan will activate January 1st. However, early in February, she decides she could benefit from Medicare Advantage Plan D. 

Being in the OEP window and having had her existing plan since January, Sylvia can make the one-time change. Her new policy will go into effect on March 1st. 

However, that’s not where Sylvia’s story ends. Her plan activates March 1st, but after a couple of weeks (and still within the OEP), she finds that the new plan isn’t a good fit for her needs. 

Unfortunately, Sylvia will have to wait until October 15th when AEP begins again—unless, of course, she qualifies for Special Election Period (SEP).

What is SEP?

SEP allows seniors to make changes to their Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage under particular circumstances.

Examples of when you may qualify for SEP include the following. 

  • You’re moving to a new address that affects your coverage (e.g., moving back to the States after living overseas or moving to a new address that isn’t in your existing plan’s service area).
  • You’re living in an area where a weather event has occurred—one that FEMA has determined as an emergency or major disaster. Due to the weather situation happening during another valid election period (e.g., AEP), you may qualify for SEP. 

Additionally, the weather-related SEP is available to beneficiaries who depend on friends or family members living in the affected areas to manage their healthcare needs. 

  • You will lose your other insurance coverage. For example, if you are no longer eligible for Medicaid, you may qualify for SEP and the opportunity to sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan. Also, if you no longer have coverage from your employer (or union), SEP will allow you to apply for Medicare Advantage coverage.

Tapping into your Medicare resources

Medicare election periods from OEP to SEP can get complicated. However, you have access to resources—from your insurance specialist to online information (such as the website). The key is to keep an eye on election period dates that apply to you, take action early and, if necessary, ask for help.

Need to adjust your Medicare Advantage coverage during OEP? The team can answer all your questions and guide you through the process.

Call today toll free: 877.255.6273